5 Ways To Beat The Sun
The sun’s warmth is what makes so many outings so much fun, but the news isn’t all good. The sun can burn your skin, damage your eyes, and make a day outdoors memorable for all the wrong reasons. Follow these tips to protect yourself from the sun.
Shield your skin with layers that breathe and reflect the sun.
When you see a picture of a native of North Africa swathed head to foot in cloth, it may seem counter-intuitive: doesn’t wearing so much clothing make the person who lives in a hot, sunny climate hotter? The answer is no, provided the clothing is properly selected for the climate.
Open-weave fabrics worn loosely allow for plenty of air circulation while still shielding the skin from direct sun. Light colored fabrics reflect the sun’s rays, keeping the skin cooler while still offering protection from sunburn. Select your clothing for hot days spent outdoors with those factors in mind.
Don’t forget to protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat. You can go with a natural fiber hat in an open weave, or a cloth hat with mesh or grommets to allow for air circulation. Cloth hats offer several advantages. First, many include a special flap to cover and protect the neck. Second, since they’re soft they’re easy to roll up for transport in a gear bag or day pack. Finally, you can periodically soak a cloth hat in cool water and wring it out before wearing, to promote cooling evaporation.
Use the right type of sunscreen, and don't neglect your lips.
Sunscreens are not all created equal. Depending on the activities you have in mind for the day, you may need a waterproof variety, one that offers maximum SPF, or the new Safe Sea® lotion that also offers protection from jellyfish stings. Kids’ delicate skin generally requires an SPF rating of at least 50, and most sunscreen manufacturers offer sunscreen specially formulated for kids to be as gentle as possible on the skin. Whichever you choose, read the label carefully and remember to re-apply as recommended in the product instructions. Even the highest-quality sunscreen can only do its job if it’s used properly.
Remember to use an SPF lip balm. The skin on your lips can get sunburned too, and when it happens it can be especially painful since that area is more prone to cracking when skin gets too dry or is burned.
Protect your eyes with UV-shielding sunglasses.
Most people know that looking directly into the sun can cause permanent damage to the retinas, but that’s not the only way the sun can harm your eyes. The sensitive surface and structures of the eye are just as vulnerable to the sun’s harmful UV rays as your skin, and anytime you’re out in the sunlight your eyes are being exposed to those rays. Always wear sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses when you’re outdoors in the sun.
Don't forget your feet.
The sun can make the surface of asphalt, concrete and sand hot enough to cause second-degree burns on the soles of the feet.
Wear sandals, flip-flops or something similar when walking on asphalt or concrete, then switch to sand socks when you get to the grass or beach. Sand socks are thin and comfortable enough to be worn inside shoes or fins, but offer a layer of protection between the hot sand and your skin. On grass, they shield your feet from biting insects on the ground.
The sun can do just as much damage to the inside of your body as the outside if you don’t stay hydrated. Anytime you’ll be out in the sun for an hour or longer, be sure to carry plenty of water, or sports drinks with electrolytes, to replace all the water you’re losing to perspiration.
Note that “energy drinks”, which contain high concentrations of caffeine or caffeine-like substances, are not the same thing as sports drinks and can actually increase the risk of overheating and heatstroke.
Don’t let the sun be the boss of you: follow these tips to stay safe and comfortable.
Credit: Photo by awesomecontent / Freepik
- Outdoors Staff